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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Slope Rockwell Aero Commander's maiden flight

After 5 months since the Slope Aero Commander project started it finally took to the sky at Volksrust on Saturday afternoon the 3rd of Jan 2009.

Although we arrived on Monday the 29th of December my patience was even further tested with the condition being very light for the first 4 to 5 days and peaked out on Sunday with a monster wind of between 30 and 40 kph for most of Sunday.

Needless to say the Aero Commander thrived in these conditions and as the saying goes, flew straight form the drawing board into the slightly overcast skies of Volksrust needing no trim correction what so ever. Even the CG and overall weight of 3.5KG of the Aero Commander worked out ok and the more I pushed the model through its paces the more it had to offer with near axial rolls and very little down elevator required to maintain level inverted flight. Consecutive loops also were not a problem. What surprised the most was that it was even sensitive to thermals and with 4 to 5 turns it would climb out above the slope ridge with more than enough height to do a proper landing approach.

The huge flaps came in very handy on landing and especially so on Sunday when the wind was very strong and the Aero Commander needed them to slow it down.

Disaster nearly set in when on Tuesday afternoon a fast approaching thunder and lightning storm hit us on the NW slope and in the process destroying the BERG tent which collapsed on top of the Aero Commander. Only the fast action of Edmund and myself and 10 minutes of hanging on for our dear lives saved the Aero Commander.

Evan has published detail pictures and posting of this on the ETB blog at this link

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